“This is normal. You’ve had a baby.” — After a woman talks to their provider about bladder leaks.
“It’s not THAT bad. Come back when it’s worse and then we’ll talk about surgery.” — After a woman expresses concerns over what feels like her organs are falling out.
“Just relax or have a glass of wine.” — In response to the complaint that sex hurts.
“Why are you here for a pessary? I only fit them for grandmothers.” — Said to a young mother in a doctor’s office who is trying to get back to normal life and be able to go for walks and hikes without the pain and pressure her prolapse is causing.
Over the last 3 years as a solo practice owner and putting myself out there online and within my community, I have had women from all over the globe reach out about their concerns and fears, not knowing where to go for help. So many women have experienced the shocking reality that once they realize that something is different or not right with their pelvic or core health that the information and resources around them are not easy to find. Or that they are told by their provider that there is nothing wrong.
Women are feeling unheard, brushed off, alone, and frustrated. The symptoms that are sometimes devastating to their quality of life are often things that NO ONE talks about in our communities. So naturally, women are taking to the internet searching for answers. I’ve had many conversations with fearful and frustrated women from all over the globe via messenger and email calming their fears, providing information, and helping to guide them towards someone in their area that can be of help.
SO I would like to give YOU some guidance as to WHO to look for to help you and some resources at the bottom of this blog.
One thing that I have said MANY times, is that it is NEVER OK for a medical provider to dismiss your concerns or NOT listen to you. If they do, then it’s time to look for another provider that DOES listen. When it comes to pelvic health issues like pain, bladder or bowel leaks, and pelvic organ prolapse, we need to assemble a TEAM that is on our side. A team that makes us feel heard and hopeful. Who gives us the guidance and tools to MOVE FORWARD.
That team SHOULD consist of at least 2 professionals to start. A highly skilled OBGYN or urogynecologist and a pelvic physical therapist. The pelvic PT should be one that you feel comfortable with and is very comfortable with internal muscle assessments to truly help you resolve your symptoms. This pelvic PT should also be whole body focused and NOT just talking about using a biofeedback machine and then leaving the room.
A women’s health doctor should be giving you solutions and support beyond just a pill or discussion of surgery without a serious reason as to WHY conservative measures should not be tried FIRST. Simple medical devices for prolapse called pessaries that are fit by specially trained doctors can be game changing for quality of life for women and SHOULD at least be considered and tried. Especially if she is pre-menopause. In the US and most countries, PTs do not fit these.
Addressing pelvic health concerns should NEVER feel transactional. There is a HUGE mental health component to resolving our pelvic health issues which is why it is oh so crucial that you feel COMFORTABLE and safe with your providers.
The other professionals that could be very necessary to full recovery are mental health counselors and sex therapists. It is estimated that 8/10 women have been victims of abuse at some point in their lifetime. Trauma informed therapy could be essential as the muscles of the core and pelvic floor can be very linked to mental and emotional pain and issues. I have seen in my practice the miraculous change that can happen when emotional issues are processed and dealt with in conjunction with pelvic PT.
And when it comes to intimacy, any couple who has had one partner experience pain with sex may greatly benefit from working with a therapist who has an additional level of expertise with sexual health.
If you are unsure of what to say to your provider, I would strongly recommend that you print out the pelvic health quiz on this website, fill it out and take with you to your doctor. This can be a GREAT starting place to creating an alliance with them.
If you have a specific issue like prolapse, bladder leaks or pain, you can start with the guides on the homepage of this website. There are ALWAYS options that you have available to get past these issues.
After a decade of working with women specifically with pelvic health issues, I am grateful for the advances in availability in care worldwide. When I started down this path, I was told that there were only about 200 pelvic PTs in the US. That number has grown a TON since then, but women still struggle to find help. If you are looking for a provider near you, then check out the link below. The Global Pelvic Health Alliance is a growing directory of providers all over the world who have a specialty in pelvic health of some kind. This includes pelvic PT, doctors, fitness professionals, prenatal and postnatal specialists, massages therapists, counselors, and more.
Remember. You are NOT ALONE and there IS HELP. Let’s go find your team! If you need help finding someone near you, please message me! I’m happy to help!
→ Global Pelvic Health Alliance Directory